FEATURE
Building the Perfect Beast
An Exercise in Madness (Part 4)
by RORY NOBLE

With the TNBL off-season comes a flurry of trades, FA signings, and draft picks to the league. While I was in pretty good shape in the draft with the #3 overall selection in each round, I did manage to trade my way into the #4 selection in the first round as well. Adding more pieces to the puzzle that will hopefully bring winning seasons and possibly even championships to the city of Indianapolis is the ultimate goal, and the 2038 off-season seemed particularly good in that respect.

Going back-to-back with first round amatuer picks is nothing new to many leagues. In fact, three different teams managed to do just that this year: Myrtle Beach secured the #1 and #2 selections, Indianapolis had the #3 and #4 selections, and Philadelphia went back-to-back at #22 and #23. In this case, I believe Myrtle Beach won the day with their top pitching selections, but since I snagged some decent pitching prospects in last year’s draft, I was more focused on the offensive side of things this time out.

Selected at #3, RF Alex Bello should be an above average hitter with great power to the gaps. He should also be a significant contributor to the home run totals each season. 2B Tom Kaye, selected with the #4 pick, should also do well at the plate hitting for a decent average while supplying plenty of scoring opportunities with his gap power and speed on the basepaths. Both will be starting for the rookie league Cape Canaveral Astronauts to begin the 2028 season.

The second round saw another reliever come to the team in Oscar Carvajal. The right hander from Panama should be a strike-out master from either the set-up or closer role when he reaches the majors. He is the only one of the new recruits to start the season above rookie league level. In the third round I found OF Fernando Teran who will also work out of the pen as the team’s closer. If he develops well he’ll likely be relegated to DH duties and used out of the pen throughout his TNBL career with Indianapolis.

SP Edgar Diaz was selected in the fourth and projects to be a late rotation starter with a strong curveball and decent fastball/slider combo. Fifth round selection Lao-sheng Zi and Mitchell Emory, both outfield prospects, round out the top picks of 2028 for the team. While neither is in the class of first-rounder Bello, both could develop into players that make the ML squad at some point in the near future.

The 2038 season will also begin with a couple of rookie pitchers to the starting rotation for the Trail Blazers. Antonio Valdez comes off of a 7-9 campaign for Triple A Independence last season. He had an ERA of 3.54 with a WHIP of just 1.08 in 26 appearances. Also seeing his ML debut will be Richard Reardon. He went 7-5 with a 4.29 ERA in his 24 starts for Independence last season. Reardon will be on a very short leash however due to his currently under-developed changeup. Also getting his call-up is closer Miguel Escobar. He had a record of 3-2 with 17 saves in 33 appearances for Galveston in 2027. His ERA was 2.33 and his WHIP only 0.93.

Overall projections for the Trail Blazers are not good this season. However, as mentioned earlier in this series, it’s all about the future for Indianapolis, which is looking pretty good so far.